Have you ever looked for your favorite song to go with your number 1 anime, found an Anime Music Video including both, only to thrash your head at its horrible execution? To worsen matters, did you scan through ten more AMVs, only to bang your head against your laptop at further disappointment? There exists an old expression that says, "If you can't find someone to do it right, then do it yourself." Unfortunately, most of the top-rated AMVs ever made took mountains of study, weeks of editing, and expensive video editing software, such as Sony Vegas, Adobe Premier Pro, or Power Director Ultra. However, why pay for such a program when a useable and efficient piece of software comes bundled with Windows? If you don't have a money tree in your backyard or missed your blessing from the Finances Fairy, then, with the right approach and techniques, you can still make the AMV of your dreams, or at least your waking fantasy, in Windows Movie Maker.
What is an AMV?
For those who love Japanese cartoons, also called anime, and yet for some reason have never heard of such an awesome aphrodisiac for the ears and eyes, an AMV, an acronym for Anime Music Video, is born when someone edits a series of video clips from one or several different anime with a song or instrumental playing over it. If one imagines a music video, but with the action packed, eye-exploding scenes from popular Japanese cartoons, instead of the dance numbers and visuals that barely symbolize the lyrics, one understands an AMV. AMVs are born for a variety of reasons, such as boredom, a person wanting to see a certain AMV that doesn't exist, a dedication to a certain character, to showcase how much of an edit-maestro one is, to elicit powerful emotions from an anime, or to just have fun. No matter why you want to make one, there are three things always necessary to bring an Anime Music Video to life: Scenes from an anime or animes, a song, and video-editing software.
Having an Episode Guide available will help you immensely. People outsource all their memory these days anyway, so there's no reason to confuse yourself by trying to remember what happens in every episode. It will strain your creative energy, too; trust the writer.
The Planning Phase
The most important part of your project, and the part that will save you from plenty of headaches later, is the planning phase, classically known as brainstorming. For simplicity, and so your eyes won't merge into one giant, cyclops ball of eyestrain, the steps you should follow in the planning phase are numbered as follows:
- Make sure you have a version of Windows Movie Maker on your computer. If you don't, you can download one for free at www.microsoft.com. The writer currently uses Windows 8 with Windows Live Movie Maker, but this guide offers generic techniques that have facilitated AMV creation in older versions of Windows Movie Maker.
- Download the song or instrumental you want along with the episodes from the anime, or animes, you want to use.
- Now you're ready to start the storm part of the brainstorm. Watch the anime, or at least the episodes you want to use, again. Take note of the scenes you want to include at certain times in the song. Typically, you'll search for scenes that sync to the artist's lyrics or the changes in the instrumental's tempo. To do so, while you watch the episodes, write down the episode number and the time frame of the scene you want to use to certain lyrics or tempo changes in the song.
- Follow step three until you have a general idea of how you want your entire AMV to be.
The Creation Phase
This is the funnest part of making an AMV: Putting all your clips and music together. Again, to prevent your eyes from rolling out of your head, follow the neatly organized list:
- A Starting note: Don't worry about your intro in Windows Movie Maker. You'll add that to your AMV at the conclusion.
- Import the first episode you want to use, and then import the music file you will use. Go to the Project tab/Audio Mix to make the music audio overtake the video audio.
- Use the Edit tab to Trim parts of the episode you won't use. You can use the Animation tab to add style to the transitions and the Visual Effects tab to give cool effects to the video clips, such as solarize, filters, fade-out-to-black, and so forth.
- Rinse and repeat step 3 for editing until you reach the chorus of your respective song. The chorus is that catchy part that repeats itself around every minute that keeps you from forgetting what the artist's random assortment of words means. Then publish your video by going to the File tab/Save Movie/Recommended for this Project. Review your published video clip to make sure everything looks as it should. If your video doesn't sync with your audio, your audio file could be corrupt. Download a different copy of your song to remedy this problem and replace your corrupt file with it.
- Import your published AMV file into a new Windows Movie Maker project. Import your audio file again and make it play over your video as you did in Step 2. Now (You saw this coming ^_^), repeat steps 3 and 4 for editing and reviewing until your AMV is finished to your satisfaction.
- The author may sound like a redundancy machine for saying this, but after you've published your AMV, import it into the last project file you'll make for this assignment. Under the Home tab, you can either use an Automovie theme to add an intro and credits, or you can use Add/Title and Add/Credits to personalize your opening and ending. Publish this file, and your masterpiece will be finished. Note: Don't add your audio track over this file like you did in previous steps.
Tricks and Tips
- Watch other AMVs on Youtube or on http://animemusicvideos.org. They will give you a general idea how a good AMV project looks. Also, don't get discouraged by projects that make a beginner's look like a toddler having a sumo match with a truck. All starting AMVs look like an amoeba before it evolved into a fish, only your success won't take millions of years. The more you make AMVs, the better your skills will improve.
- To make the blinking, flashy effects we love that give us seizures with smiles on our faces, you can either use the Visual Effects tab, or make a blank frame and shorten it between clips.
- Synchronize the anime characters' actions with the lyrics or changes in the instrumental's tempo. For example: If the song's artist screams, show a clip with an anime character scream. Switch scenes during the base drums, etc.
- Refrain from using the same clip twice. It's tempting to do during the chorus, but in AMVs this is considered a no-no.
- Remember, your capabilities are limited in Windows Movie Maker. You'll need to invest in Sony Vegas or another video editing software program to make those projects that are “Over 9000!”
Good Luck, and Have Fun
If one plans a project well, edits it with respect to the program's capabilities, and follows a few techniques, one can create a decent AMV, even in a basic program like Windows Movie Maker. Similar to other hobbies, snobs exist in the realm of AMV creation, labeling some AMVs as art and others as garbage, yet their judgments ruin the experience and harm the learning curve for others. AMV creation exists to let others improve their video editing skills or to make a combination of anime and song that speak to the maker's soul. Anime Music Videos truly transcend such titles as "artistic" and "better" when the creator puts time, enjoyment, and spirit into the project.
One of My AMVs! Enjoy ^_^
Zeron87 (author) on July 15, 2016:
Well, you're certainly entitled to your opinion, buddy. Perhaps you've like to post an AMV YOU'VE created in Windows Live Movie Maker so you can present us with an example of "great" AMV creation in this program? You're not going to make stellar AMVs in Windows Live Movie Maker. That isn't the point of this hub. But if you put a lot of time and effort into your creation by researching your anime, choosing your clips carefully to either go with the lyrics or the beat (I personally prefer lyrics, but that's me), while working with the idiosyncrasies of this program, you can at least create something coherent. It's a free program, as opposed to Sony Vegas or Adobe Premier, without a steep learning curve, so it's a great tool to get one's feet wet with amv creation (or video editing period).
I'll be the first to admit my AMV ain't great, but I know its pretty darn good compared to the thousands thrown together with just unedited clips to music, especially for something made in free editing software.
Um. on July 10, 2016:
That AMV isn't great.